Mass Effect 2: Power-Play your way to ME3

Mass Effect 3 - Garrus is the man

Mass Effect 3 is due to be released worldwide on March 6, 2012 for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. I’m really looking forward to this, I’ve played through number 2 but skipped over the first. The series provides a top-notch story setting, told well and with superb dialogue interaction. I was put off the 1st title by the seemingly clunky combat, but the 2nd provided me with a brilliant shooter experience that complemented the character and story development well.

I’m currently planning to pick up all of the DLC missions and bust through them all on the Insanity difficulty, to prepare my save for the 3rd game (and to try and finish off the rest of the Achievements natch). Read on, to see my thoughts and tips, if you fancied doing something similar. Beware light spoilers though.

This will only be my second playthrough of the game (I don’t have enough time to play through games multiple times any more) – although I previously finished everything on the disc and the items included with the Cerberus Network.

For completing ME2 you receive on any new game +200,000 credits, +50,000 of each resource, +500 Fuel, +30 Probes and +25% bonus experience – these make it much easier to max out your character.

I’ve chosen Warp Ammo as my bonus power as it is great against everything but shields (I have Disruptor ammo for that) and it stops health regeneration. I have heard Reave is also a good option.

I’m using a New Game+, importing my completed game with a Soldier Shepard, all Armor and Weapons from the disc and Cerberus Network and the M-98 Widow Anti-Material Rifle from the Collector’s Ship.

Note that the bonus powers available are determined by the achievements you have earned – they are not save dependent. The same is true of the bonuses for completing the game. The weapons and armour you have available are determined by the save you have imported including all of your heavy weapons. Also, the weapon you choose in the Collector’s Ship sticks – you can’t choose a different one in a subsequent game. The Widow is extremely useful on the Insanity difficulty. No other upgrades are carried over.

Due to this, I would make sure that the completed save game that you import for your New Game + has every weapon, heavy weapon and armour piece purchased or collected. Also make sure that you have the appropriate weapon for your playstyle from the Collector’s Ship. This will make sure you have the best possible start to Insanity. You’re going to need it. You will also free up some Credits so that you can buy all of the upgrades – also impossible 1st time through without paid DLC or the “Rich” achievement import bonus from ME1.

The maximum level Shepard can reach is 30. If you didn’t make it by the end of the first run through (impossible without paid DLC/ME1 import bonus) you will hit it very quickly into your 2nd playthough. This give you 51 squad points to distribute on Shepard’s powers – you can’t max-out everything, you can max-out 5 powers . Team mates will have access to 30 squad points (allowing them to max-out 3 powers), but only once you have completed their loyalty mission. This extra point is automatically assigned to their newly unlocked 4th power. Miranda and Jacob both start with an extra point, they will have 31 total after their loyalty mission.

You can reassign your points for 2500 Element Zero once you have completed the mission “Horizon”. You can reassign your team mates points after you have completed “Lair of the Shadow Broker” (So you need to buy the Shadow Broker DLC for this ability).

Mass Effect 2 - Liara needs your help to bring down the Shadow Broker

Liara needs your help to bring down the Shadow Broker

Apparently the start of the game is the hardest in a NG+ Insanity playthrough as the enemies scale as you level. Once you can access upgrades – things get a little easier. Although battles will still be tough.

I’ve currently just finished recruiting Mordin and so far enemies have huge amounts of health and at least armor or a shield as standard. They seem to be more aggressive and take cover more effectively too. The Widow sniper rifle, Adrenaline Rush and Warp Ammo seem to be very effective so far – taking many enemies out in one hit to the head. I think I need a better assault rifle though. I am using the Carnifex, Tempest, Geth Pulse Rifle, Widow, Eviscerator and the Collector Particle Beam. Preferably, I would use the Phalanx (Firepower), Locust (Kasumi), Mattock (Firepower), Geth Plasma Shotgun (Firepower) and stick with the Widow and Particle Beam.

I would also advise choosing the area-affect version of direct powers and the squad ammo options when you max out your skills. Your team mates and crowd control are extremely useful. Miranda should probably always be in your squad – to gain access to her boost to the entire squad’s damage output.

A full review, including all of the mission packs, will follow in about a month. I need to wait for the DLC sale and then complete it on Insanity – then it’s ASAP on my list of things to do.

Helpful Guides:

You can read my article discussing the DLC, to see what is available in each pack here.

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